Beavers are a critically endangered species, yet some of their habitat is still being protected.
We spoke to conservationist and author Nick Williams, who has helped the beaver population in the US.
Read more In his book, Beavers and the Endangered Wildlife, Williams describes how beavers were introduced into the US in the late 1800s and the US government took them off the endangered species list.
He also reports how beaver hunting was banned in parts of the US, including the South, where he lived.
He says the introduction of beavers into the West helped the species survive.
“Beavers were in a position to do this because we didn’t have a really good relationship with the state of Utah,” Williams said.
“We were still the biggest landowner in the western United States.
So we could get away with a lot of these things.”
While it’s important to preserve the beavers habitat, conservationists say there’s also value in them for other wildlife.
“The beavers are extremely adaptable.
They can adapt very easily to their environment, and we don’t want them to go extinct,” said Mike Kugler, a biologist at the University of Wisconsin.”
They’re very useful to agriculture, because they’re very smart, very adaptable animals.
And they’re not going to eat the crops that are in their way.”
The beaver’s habitat is particularly valuable because it is so large and densely forested, Kuglers research found.
“It’s so large that there are no predators or predators that are really there to kill them,” Kugling said.
“And it’s so dense that they can’t be hunted, so they’re able to survive in the wilderness.”
For some, the idea of protecting the beaucoup has been controversial.
In January, a group of Wyoming ranchers called the US Forest Service filed a lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and several of its employees.
The group alleges BLM violated the US Constitution by not properly reviewing the potential impacts of the beavas reintroduction.
The lawsuit was settled out of court, but the BLM says it still has an ongoing process to consider all the facts and legal implications.
“I think that the argument that it’s an issue of land use or conservation or some other reason, that’s just not the case,” BLM spokesman Rick Johnson said.
In fact, Johnson said the agency has already taken a number of steps to preserve beavers.
“Our first priority has always been to protect the beacons habitat and their habitat,” Johnson said, adding the agency’s decision to relocate beavers from their current habitats in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to areas other than the beech borer habitat was one of the first actions it took.
“And that was a pretty big step forward.”
Williams said he believes beavers can help wildlife.
“I think they’ve done a good job.
They’ve helped save the beechere habitat,” he said.